Game Thirty-Eight: Cubs (21-16) vs. Cardinals (22-17)
Game Time – 7:15pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet/ESPN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Ryan Dempster (3-2, 4.65/1.29) vs. Chris Carpenter (1-0, 0.00/0.70)
After dropping their second game in a row on Tuesday night, the Cubs will get back to work tonight behind Ryan Dempster. The Cardinals will activate former Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter before the game…and are expected to have Rick Ankiel back from the DL as well.
The Cubs need to put together a better game plan against Carpenter and most importantly make him work…the Cardinals have mentioned a 75-80 pitch limit for Carpenter tonight.
With the quarter mark of the season approaching, it is time for Milton Bradley, Derrek Lee, Mike Fontenot and Geovany Soto to start hitting consistently. In two days the “it’s still early excuse” that has gotten old will no longer be accepted. It is time for the rest of the lineup to pickup Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot for a while.
It is a new day and hopefully the Cubs remember how to take pitches tonight against Chris Carpenter…but it all starts with Ryan Dempster. Ryan Dempster will face the Cardinals for the third time this season. Dempster has not pitched badly in either one of his first two starts but has not posted a decision in either of the games.
Dempster allowed four runs on four hits in six innings with four walks and four strikeouts on April 18 at Wrigley. The Cubs won the game 7-5 thanks to a walk-off home run by Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the 11th.
In his next start on April 24 at Busch, Dempster and the Cubs lost 4-3 thanks to an eighth inning single and stolen base by Albert Pujols…then a single by Ryan Ludwick off Carlos Marmol. Dempster had ‘one bad inning‘ in each of his first two outings against the Cardinals this season. He must avoid the big inning and it all starts with throwing strikes.
Dempster’s strikeout to walk ratio has improved from nearly 2:1 in April (25 strikeouts and 14 walks in 30 innings) to a respectable 3:1 (21 strikeouts and seven walks in 20 1/3 innings) and his ERA and WHIP, not to mention his win-loss record, tells the story.
In his first five starts in April, Dempster was 1-1 with a bloated 5.40 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP (opponents hit .254 against him). Dempster is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP (opponents hitting .203).
This season Dempster has allowed seven runs, all earned, on 11 hits in 12 innings (two starts) to the Cardinals with five walks and 10 strikeouts (5.25 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP).
- Brian Barden – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Chris Carpenter – 0-for-6
- Chris Duncan – 2-for-9 with a triple and a walk
- Khalil Greene – 3-for-15 with a home run and a walk
- Jason LaRue – 5-for-13 with a home run and a walk
- Yadier Molina – 5-for-17 with a double and 3 walks
- Albert Pujols – 9-for-35 with a double, 2 home runs and 4 walks
- Skip Schumaker – 10-for-24 with a double
Chris Carpenter has been on the DL since April 15 with a strained left ribcage muscle and will make his third start of the year tonight. Carpenter was just about unhittable in his first 10 innings of the year (one run, unearned, on five hits in 10 innings with two walks and nine strikeouts). He appeared to be all the way back from injuries that have sidelined him for the last two seasons…then he strained his ribcage while hitting and left after just three innings in Arizona.
The Cardinals not only survived while Carpenter was out, but they thrived until their recent 10-game stretch (3-7). If Carpenter can stay healthy, which is a big if at this point in his career, the Cardinals will remain around the top of the division for the entire season.
Carpenter has dominated the Cubs in the past. He is 7-3 in 14 career starts with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. The last start he made against the Cubs was last August 10 at Wrigley against Ryan Dempster. Carpenter allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits in 5 1/3 innings before leaving with anther injury.
The Cubs must make him work tonight…even if that means looking at a lot of strike threes early on.
- Milton Bradley – 3-for-10 with a home run
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-6
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-1
- Ryan Freel – 6-for-25 with 2 doubles
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-4
- Derrek Lee – 12-for-38 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
- Aaron Miles – 2-for-4
- Alfonso Soriano – 12-for-28 with a double and 2 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-2
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….